Taking action on smoking and health
Principle 5: All young people should be protected from commercial interests which profit from recruiting new smokers
Alastair Mackinnon is Chief Executive of Fast Forward – the national health and wellbeing charity for young people. Fast Forward have a long track-record in delivering exciting projects to support tobacco education and prevention work with young people.
Alastair currently provides input to Scottish Government advisory groups on tobacco prevention and has supported the Youth Sector Tobacco Prevention Group to launch an online platform of resources for youth workers on tobacco prevention.
Alastair is particularly passionate about tackling the supply of tobacco to young people.
“The tobacco industry still gets around 36 new child smokers A DAY in Scotland to replace smokers who die or quit, aided by people who give under 18s tobacco and a proportion of retailers who still knowingly sell cigarettes to children - giving cigarettes to under 18s is just not doing them a favour.”
Smoking is a problem that has been driven by the commercial interests who profit from it. Despite their opposition we have banned tobacco adverts, removed fancy packaging and increased the legal age for buying tobacco to 18. Yet there is more that can be done.
Young people are particularly influenced by images of smoking in the media, which studies show increases their likelihood of taking up smoking.
It is important that as a whole community, we think about reducing the ways young people can get hold of tobacco. For example, a proportion of retailers still sell to under-18s, children ask adults to buy for them in shops, even family and friends supply tobacco.
Alastair writes about why it is really important that as a whole community, we think about further reducing the ways young people can get hold of tobacco. Giving fags to any young person is just not doing them a favour.
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.